WILMINGTON — The Town of Wilmington will be entering mediation with contractor Gilbane Company in order to resolve ongoing issues with the wood floor in the high school gymnasium.
According to Hull, just months after the new building’s opening in February 2015, public buildings department staff noticed that the floor was “crimping.” This was particularly noticeable in the center of the floor, but was visible elsewhere as well.
Hull stated that the town entered meetings with Gilbane, as well as design firm Dore & Whittier. At that time, town officials were told that the crimping was due to the natural acclimation of the wood. Unsatisfied with this response, the town pushed for answers. When the floor remained uneven over time, the public buildings department brought in dehumidifiers and fans. These helped somewhat, but the floor didn’t settle completely until fall.
In subsequent summers, the pattern of expanding and then settling has continued.
“Certainly the townspeople paid for a gym floor that was going to function in the way it was intended to and so it’s our position that the floor needs to be replaced,” said Hull.
Hull stated that there are currently three active bids for the floor replacement project, ranging from $219,200 to $268,666. He said that he expected the project would be awarded to the lowest qualified bidder, and that Town Counsel would be involved in the mediation.
Not all present agreed that the town should accept financial responsibility for the replacement. Selectman Michael McCoy asserted that the problem was the fault of the contractor, and thus the contractor should pay, rather than the town.
“There’s no secret, we could all realize what was happening with that floor,” said McCoy. “…I definitely feel that that contractor is absolutely responsible for it.”